Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Do's and Don'ts for 2010

I got two new followers this week. Boy, if they think all my posts are going to be as entertaining as the last one, they are in for a big disappointment!

Anyway, I now bring you "Do's and Don'ts for 2010"

Do submit your work!

Do give children's books as gifts (especially at birthday parties!)

Do listen closely to your kids for ideas.

Do trust your gut.

Do dream big!

Don't kiss anyone near a lit candle.

Don't nap when you could be going to the gym instead.

Don't let your four year old listen to the Rent soundtrack.

Don't take rejection to heart.

Don't buy books from bookstores that you already ordered from Amazon.

And whatever you do, DON'T play Scramble on Facebook. If you start, you will never have time to read, write, or blog again.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Okay, Maybe I Can! (Kiss and Tell)

Okay, you convinced me. (Actually, the truth is.. nothing cheers me up like a good dating story)

So, let me set the scene. (BTW, I suck at exposition which is why I write for three year olds.)

Manhattan. Late nineties. I am madly infatuated with a guy named Warren. I haven't read Twilight, but I imagine he had the same effect on me that Edward had on Bella. He made me swoon.

One night we are having drinks in a candlelit bar on the upper east side. The bar has a front room and a back room and we are standing alone in the corridor connecting the two. The attraction is so strong that our wine glasses end up on a ledge and we start kissing.

I'm melting...

Suddenly, I am ripped from my reverie, by a busboy who starts whacking me on the back, neck, and shoulders. Even in my buzzed stupor, I think, "Only in NYC could I be attacked by a busboy!"

I turn to him and say, "What are you doing?"

And he says, "Putting out the fire. You hair was on fire!"

Yup, folks. It's true! Unbeknownst to me, my hair had caught on a candle flame that was sitting on the ledge.

Must have been some kiss, huh?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Can't Kiss and Tell

You know it hasn't been a good day when the glass of wine you so desperately need ends up shattered in a million pieces on the porcelain floor before you've even had a chance to take a sip.

I wanted so badly to get to read all the kissing posts I missed yesterday! I even wanted to post my own. Not a scene from a manuscript (I write PBs!), but an actual real-life kissing scene.

Unfortunately, though, things conspired against me. So... no incredible kissing story. Well, unless you beg.

And let me tell you... life is definitely stranger than fiction, because if you had read this one in a book, you never would have believed it!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Illustrator Appreciation Day

We've had agent appreciation day and editor appreciation day. When is it going to be illustrator appreciation day? Anyone?

Well, I for one would like to thank all the fabulous picture book illustrators out there who bring our stories to life. As Michael Stearns so eloquently said, "Picture book writing must be woefully dependent on the illustrations, else the manuscript is trying to do far too much, is the bore at the table who won’t let anyone else speak, won’t let the conversation come to life, and flattens the spirit of the evening."

Also, I'd like to give Neil Numberman a special shout out for sending me this awesome drawing of my three ninja pigs! (My publisher has not selected an actual illustrator yet, but I got a big kick out of seeing Neil's sketch)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Can I Interest You in Hanukkah?

I'm having a hard time writing blog posts lately. My doctor put me on Zithromax for bronchitis and it has had some weird side effects:
  • Loss of saliva
  • Loss of sense of taste
  • Loss of all ability to be funny
Unfortunately, this drug has a long half life which means it stays in the system for weeks. So, until it's out, I'll have to "borrow" some entertaining material, so I don't put you all to sleep.

Since it's Hanukkah, I bring you a little holiday humor courtesy of Comedy Central.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
A Colbert Christmas: Jon Stewart
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorU.S. Speedskating

Monday, December 14, 2009

Would You Want Your Book Published If You Didn't Love It?

Okay, just a hypothetical... I am not in this position, but I imagine I could be one day.

You wrote a book and you're not thrilled with how it turned out. Your agent, however, thinks it's marketable and she can sell it. Would you want it out there in the litosphere with your name on it if you didn't LOVE it?

NOTE: After reading some of the comments, I just want to clarify. In this hypothetical, the story is not CRAP and you do not HATE it. Other people may love it... perhaps your beta readers, critique partners, etc, but you don't love it.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Goldilocks is Not the Only One Who Rocks

While Jordan has been out crushing the hopes and dreams of all the five year olds in town, I have been busy stressing.

  • Stressing about driving all the way to Scarsdale, NY for a school visit.
  • Stressing about getting all my Hanukkah gifts purchased and wrapped in time.
  • Stressing about what might come out of my daughter's mouth next.

I've also been mulling over the whole Golidlocks thing. I was not putting it out there for vote (it was really all a joke) but if I had been, Goldi Rocks would definitely have won!!!

Anyway, just found out it is Unofficially Official Agent Appreciation Day, so a huge shout out to my awesome agent, Kendra Marcus, who really has her finger on the pulse of the children's publishing industry.

Kendra rocks. She can take one look at a manuscript and know instantly if it will sell (and to whom!), and if not, why not.

She told a friend of mine, "This is a charming story with great characters, but I can't sell it because there isn't enough illustrative potential."

"Poppycock," my friend and I said.

Then two weeks later, my friend got an email from a senior editor at a Major Publishing house saying, "We love your story and your characters, but we don't think it has enough illustrative potential, so we have to pass."


Maybe I should run the Goldi Rocks idea by her before I even start it?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Jordan the Grinch

Okay, my daughter has managed to spoil Christmas for everyone in her class.

I got a call from her kindergarten teacher this afternoon. Now, you have to realize that Jordan is a dream student. She LOVES learning. She is smart and highly engaged and absorbs everything like a sponge. She is an all-round delight (whenever her mom is not present)

So, it is very rare that her teacher would need to call out of the blue.

"I've been getting calls from parents," Mrs. S. began.

Apparently, Jordan has been telling the kids in her class that there is no such thing as Santa and that all their Christmas presents come from their parents.

(For anyone who hasn't figured it out, we're a Hanukkah household)

Excuse me, while I go check the real estate pages. I need to move to a new town where everyone doesn't hate me.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Goldilocks on the Brain

Sorry if I haven't visited your blogs lately. I have bronchitis (or something posing as bronchitis) and I just can't seem to kick it.

Anyway, I seem to have a Goldilocks obsession. It might have something to do with the fact that my agent keeps telling me, "Write another fractured fairy tale." Pigs was such a hit, do it again. Makes sense. Sound logic. Except that pigs came to me entirely by accident. I can not set out deliberately to write a fractured fairy tale. Trust me. I have tried. While other people have come up with 30 wonderful diverse ideas for PiBoIdMo, I have a list of 30 pathetic variations on the Three Bears theme.

Goldifox and the Three Hares
Tawnylocks, Goldi's Little Known Twin
Goldi-Rocks and The Three Bear Band

The list goes on and on...

My latest came to me the other night. I'd use the fairy tale to teach fractions. It was going great... until I woke up. What on earth could I have been dreaming? Goldilocks and the Three and a Half Bears? UGHHHHH.

Go away Goldilocks and leave me alone!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My Faulty Amazon Logic

My husband got me Amazon Prime. This means I can get free shipping without having a minimum order of $25. I was able to convince myself that this would actually save me money. (Gosh, I am gullible) Think of all those times, I said to myself, where I wanted two picture books, and the total came to like $23.87 and I had to order one more book that I didn't even want just to get the free shipping!

Yeah, but now I pull the trigger on every whim. Oh, look... this penguin book looks cute. $10.85. Ding! Oh, here's another. Mr. Wolf's Pancakes. A fractured fairy tale. Need that one for research. $11.03. Ding!

Picture books are arriving by the day! It's no wonder my four-year-old is addicted to Super Mario Brothers. Addiction runs in the family.